Just when you think it's safe to relax, there's another lockdown. It can be frustrating when you've already ordered stock ready to fill orders for dine-in trade. There's not only lost income but lost stock as well. So how can you make the most of it when snap lockdowns happen?
Takeaway and delivery ready
Make sure your regular menu is suitable for takeaway, or have a version of it that you can switch to in case of a last-minute change in restrictions. This might include keeping a stock of containers on hand even if you don't do a lot of takeaway trade usually. It's easy to turn on delivery with Bopple's DoorDash integration, and this is a great option for businesses in the delivery zone to make extra sales.
Meal kits and marketing
If you need to present certain menu items as fresh as possible, you could list them as a meal kit option. Include a print out of instructions on how to finish and assemble each dish. This is great content for your social channels or email list, especially if you prompt your loyal customers to share their results. Check out Cheeky Poke's Meal Kits for families if you need some ideas.
Some customers may be hesitant to go to the supermarket during a lockdown, or might prefer to spend their dollars with a small business for picking up their essentials (legends!). If you have items such as bread, coffee, milk, flour, pasta sauce, or toilet paper, pop them up on your store for customers to add to their order. Our friends at Flour & Stone in Sydney have a great pantry section for inspiration!
Keep that cashflow coming
Never underestimate the potential of customer loyalty. Your regulars want to make sure you stay in business, and may be willing to pre-purchase coffee or buy merchandise to help your short term cashflow. Offer pre-sale for a print run so you can pocket the margin and cover the upfront costs too. Our friends at Big Roddy's Rippin' Rib Shack love getting onto the green, so they've got golf gloves and balls on their store. Know your customer!
Build up your email list so you can contact customers directly. This helps during a lockdown when your regular patrons may not be walking past as usual. Let them know your opening hours and plans for delivery or takeaway, events or bookings, and any special offers that you are doing for the period. Use your social channels to keep customers up-to-date, but remember that not everyone uses social media.
You don't have to shut up shop immediately when the government announces a lockdown. It can be a challenge to navigate but there are plenty of ways to keep income coming and bills paid without dine-in. Whether lockdown is days or months, customers will keep coming back for the same great food and service that they know. This may not be workable for every venue but consider your options as you might find a great new offering or opportunity.
Check out some more tips to maximise your revenue during lockdown or to add to your regular trade.